Ayoob introduces the course by saying that “Most shooting schools offer a major in how to do it, with a minor in when. This is a major in when to shoot, with a minor in how.” That’s a pretty accurate picture of the course content: while there was a range portion, trigger time was not the primary focus of the course. That makes MAG40 or the classroom MAG20 extremely useful to the gun enthusiast who spends more time shooting and less time reading: it gives you a perspective you might not have considered. In my opinion (not Ayoob’s), if guys like Zimmerman took these courses and gave consideration to these factors, we’d see a whole lot less media feeding frenzy over self-defense shootings and probably a more polite society in general.
You must be able to articulate the reason why you did what you did. You must be able to convince a group of 12 strangers, specifically chosen for their lack of sympathy to your perspective that your use of force was justified. You must be authentic, and you must tell the truth. There’s a legal fiction called the ‘Doctrine of the Reasonable Man’: would a reasonable person have acted as you did, given the same background and placed in the same circumstances?
In order to make this as clear as possible, you must be able to pick up danger cues, and you must impress upon the jury your ability to pick up danger cues. It is reasonable to act on danger cues, but only if you notice them.
A given adult male can turn 90 degrees in a quarter of a second, or turn his back completely in about half a second. If he’s quartering on approach (leading strongly with one side of his body) it’s not unreasonable to think that he might be able to turn his back to you faster. You react to anticipated stimulus in about 1/4 of a second; it’s impossible to test, experimentally, how fast a person reacts to unanticipated stimulus. An assailant turning his back is unanticipated. This means that you might not stop firing as he turns. If you have drawn and are firing 4-6 shots per second (which is pretty normal), he may well be inadvertently shot in the back, even if this wasn’t your intention.
Ayoob also covers the OODA loop, which I will not reproduce here. He mentions that his use of profanity is on account of the inherent vulgarity of the topic. We should not ennoble that which is innately ugly.
The ultimate success is deterrence. A shooting death is an indication that one has done wrong. There is no winner in a gun fight. There are only reduced or mitigated losses.
Threat management, therefore, is the meat of the course. The gun is not an evil talisman and the trigger does not pull the finger. The presence of the gun should create more caution, not the swaggering bravado that seems to say “I can do whatever I want and you can’t fuck with me because I’m armed.” One might even think “I cannot punch this man. I am carrying a gun.”
A gun owner must adhere to a higher standard of care. Much as medical training teaches us that we shouldn’t move someone with a possible C-spine injury, and an EMT can therefore be held accountable for injuries resulting from such action when a layman cannot, a cop or a gun owner has no excuse to misuse force. He must be judged according to a stricter set of rules.
Guns are not like the magic rock that keeps tigers away. They are not protective amulets versus evil. They’re like fire extinguishers, safety and rescue equipment. It provides a line of safety for you and yours and stabilizes the situation until trained professionals can get there. A gun owner is like a first responder, with first response training. He’s not like a doctor who’s been to medical school. The first responder hands the situation off to the EMTs or paramedics, who hand it off to the doctors. Gun owners hand the situation off to police and judges.
It is more often appropriate to speak or to physically restrain an aggressor than to draw and fire.
Deadly force or lethal force: that degree of force which a reasonable person would consider capable of causing death or grave bodily harm. A warning shot is lethal force.
Grave bodily harm is a fancy way of saying “crippling injury.”
Do not use lethal force unless you are certain that you are authorized by law to kill the target. The truth is strong, and truth will set you free. Do not lie and pretend that the situation was different as part of your legal defense. If you suck one cock you are a cocksucker. If you tell on lie you are a liar. You are on ice. Walk where the ice is thick.
Justifiable homicide means that it was right to kill. You never ever have a duty to kill.
Excusable homicide is largely archaic. “Probably shouldn’t have killed him, but I can see where someone might make that mistake.”
Manslaughter: no evil intent, but reckless and wanton disregard for human life.
Murder: caused death with malice.
- 1st degree murder: Premeditated. Coldly planned.
- 2nd degree murder: “Crime of passion.” Caught Presidentender in bed with Zaptal and killed us both because of how much you love me.
- Capital murder: kill a LEO or prison guard on duty, assassinate a politician, kill a victim during kidnapping or rape.
- Felony murder: murder committed during the commission of another felony. If you commit a felony and someone dies as a result, even if you weren’t trying to kill them, it’s still murder.
The power of justifiable homicide must come with commensurate responsibility. It is your responsibility to do right. Do not leave your gun where Adam Lanza can get it.
Anyone who carries a gun in public does so with the anticipation that he may someday have to use it; why else would he carry? He has a responsibility therefore to be well-trained and to prove to someone that his shot will fly true. (Presidentendential aside: seriously, if you’re carrying without so much as a long weekend of professional training, fuck you.)
Scumbags, criminals, wogs, gooks, japs, jerries, evil men and Ted Bundy are human beings. Death of such men is to be avoided if possible. Fuck you if you want to kill.
The standard of care for use of force by a police officer is necessary force to fulfill and acquit his duties. The standard of care for use of force by a citizen is equal force to that presented by the threat. This means that a police officer can dislocate a perp’s shoulder to stop resistance, but a citizen cannot, because the citizen does not have the cop’s obligations. (Aside: shouldn’t that mean that the cop should have a legal obligation to help? I mean it’s been held in the past that they don’t.)